As we age it seems we cannot escape those niggling aches and pains and turn to pharmaceuticals for relief, but which ones are the safest to use? There have been a lot of headlines written about the Opiate addiction epidemic across our nations, this can lead to numerous problems including overdosing as some over the counter medications for colds, coughs and diarrhoea etc. are also opiate based namely with Codeine. An article by Patient shows that 1 in 4 adults in the UK were prescribed addictive medications in the last year, many drugs used for depression or pain were found to be safe for short term use (2 to 4 weeks) only, but had been prescribed to patients for 3 years or more.
Many of us use Over the Counter medication to relieve our symptoms believing they are harmless but that’s not the case as most are only meant for occasional use too. Taking these medications can sometimes lead to addiction or when taken as well as prescribed medications can lead to overdosage especially when they contain opiates. You can check out the NHS site for clarity on the issue of opiates and if you have any concerns you should ask your doctor for advice or alternatives. The site also has extensive information on which Painkillers to use and provides a useful list for you to compare medications. It states: The aim of taking medication is to improve your quality of life. All painkillers have potential side effects, so you need to weigh up the advantages of taking them against the disadvantages.
The above data was taken from Expert Health Reviews and shows the success rate of each drug, interestingly higher doses were hardly any more efficient compared to taking half the dose. Other comprehensive advice on the site includes explaining rebound headaches that can occur with regular or high dose medications, another reason to try to cut back to minimum.
I was personally lucky, after suffering chronic headaches lasting a few days at a time, stemming from arthritis and the posture involved in my massage work I would regularly have to take medication to enable me to work even with all the neck exercises and stretching I did to avoid them. One day I couldn’t get to the pharmacy for more painkillers, I had just torn ligaments in my foot and it seemed all my neighbours, friends and family were away or busy so I decided to half the dose to make what I had last. It worked, my chronic headache didn’t go completely but was certainly manageable, later I found that the half dose started working completely. Now if I need anything I take 1/3 of the dosage and the occurrence is only every 6 to 8 weeks or more. There are days that I feel pain coming on but don’t take anything and it wears off, I had been suffering rebound headaches without knowing it.
We are now starting to see the effects from long term use of pharmaceuticals that we once deemed as safe, so if you are in daily or regular pain then it is worth seeking out information or advice to see how to best manage your pharmaceutical intake and how to wean off any addictive ones you may be taking. Be aware of what is in other medications you take even if its only for a cold or upset stomach. If you do use over the counter medications to control pain on a regular basis then you may need to do research on which are best for you and the side effects they can cause long term as most medications are meant to be used for a few days only. Seek advice from your Doctor and maybe attend a Pain Management Clinic or Expert who can find the best solution for your own personal needs, this will help to ensure your medication improves your quality of life without causing side effects or other unwanted problems.